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5 Modern Technologies That You First Saw In Movies, TV Shows


We are already about to get past the first decade of the 21st century. It's almost every day that we bump into new technology, be it flying cars, some robot that does better stunts than humans, or some AI software capable of recognizing a person in a mob. Sends a chill down the spine, huh!

However, one thing you might have realized is that many technologies that we have today had some sort of existence in the past. Many of them have been inspired by movies and books. Yes, many gadgets and services we use today have been featured in popular flicks in the past decades.

So, without making you wait further, let's talk about some amazing modern technologies that you saw in movies and TV Shows first.

1. Hoverboard

Airplanes have satisfied our needs of flying in the air and act as a quick mode of transportation. But some humans didn’t stop there, and they actually wanted to fly like a bird.

If we talk about movies, we have seen human flights in Superman, Marry Poppins (1964), and The Matrix. Here, Marvel's Iron Man is the biggest example of a human flying using a piece of tech.

While we are yet to reach there, the French Inventor Franky Zapata can be called as the real-world Iron Man. Using a self-designed hoverboard, Zapata was able to cross the English Channel in 22 minutes, cruising at a speed of 177Km/hr. I think that's enough to make our jaws drop.

2. Brain-Computer Interface

For ages, we have made efforts to know what happens inside the human brain, which is attributed as the most complex organ in our body. While early efforts focused on EEG systems that analyze brain activity, modern applications of Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) include mind-controlled tech and maybe transferring human consciousness in the future.

In movies, you have seen the ever-popular example of Cerebro from the X-Men series. It’s used by Professor X to multiply his telepathy powers and look into the minds of others.

The German Sci-Fi film Metropolis (1927) is one of the oldest depictions of transferring human consciousness. In the movie, the personality of a woman named Maria is transferred into a humanoid robot which goes on to do evil deeds. 

Surprisingly, it's a feat that scientists are yet to achieve. However, we do have technologies like mind-controlled drones developed by Arizona State University researchers.

A startup called NextMind is working on a brain-controlled wearable tech that can analyze brain signals in real-time. Furthermore, tech giants like Facebook and Elon Musk (via Neuralink) are also investing their money in brain-computer interface projects.

3. Cyborgs

Speaking of Cyborgs would easily remind you of the famous American Sci-Fi movie RoboCop (1987). But the 1958 movie The Colossus Of New York is amongst the earliest Cyborg depictions, where a scientist father turns his dead son into a Cyborg.

In real life, the New-York based Neil Harbisson is the first legally recognized Cyborg on the planet, although previous attempts have been made as early as the 1970s.

Born in Spain, Harbisson didn't have a perception of colors since childhood. In 2004, he got an antenna permanently attached to his head that converts colors into audible vibrations that can be heard.

But, the 'woah' part of the story is that the antenna even allows the Harbisson to connect with satellites and view the world from a different perspective.

4. Robots

You might be amazed by the futuristic robots from leading robotics companies like Boston Dynamics. The humanoid robot Sophia is the world's first legally recognized robot with Saudi Arabian citizenship.

However, the Sci-Fi world showed us our non-human counterparts even before the term "robot" was known. The earliest depictions include the silent films, A Clever Dummy (1917), and The Master Mystery (1919).

Speaking of the origins, R.U.R. (Rossumovi Univerzální Roboti) was a play by Czech writer Karel Capek in 1921 that coined the term 'robot' as we know it today. However, Capek accredited his brother Josef as the inventor of the word.

For reference, Roboti (means labor) is called robots in English, and it's derived from the word 'rab' which means 'slave.'

5. 3D Printers

3D printing is a technology marvel that has gained traction in recent years. You can print anything from simple miniatures, repair tools, prosthetic limbs, and even an entire house. 

The latest in the line is 3D printed food, which will make our lives a lot easier. Foodini by Natural Machines is a 3D printer that can do the job of throwing out delicious recipes on your command.

With that said, most of us remember the famous sitcom The Jetsons (1962) and their 3D printed food that was prepared at the press of a button. Then, there is The Replicator from Star Trek (1987) that also did the job of printing food.

In real-life, the credit for creating the first commercial 3D printer goes to the American inventor Charles Hull (1986). However, the concept of 3D printing first came to surface in the 1970s. Hull's 3D printer was based on Stereolithography (SLA) where 3D structures are created in a layer by layer fashion. Interestingly, the SLA technology is used even in modern-day 3D printers.

So, these are technologies that have been showcased in the fiction world in some way or the other. Of course, there are more names to add to this list. However, in a nutshell, these are examples of how far we have come as a human race and becoming more advanced as we speak.